(Helsinki University )
Laura Kainiemi (Aalto University)
Paper Short Abstract:
This article assesses energy policy actors' evaluations of their own role in influencing energy policy in Finland. We focus on how actors attempt to develop legitimacy for specific concerns; mobilize resources to pursue their own goals; and how they evaluate their own success in such processes.
Paper long abstract:
Energy policy in Finland has historically been negotiated in a consensus-seeking fashion, with industrial interests playing a significant role in the development of nuclear energy and bioenergy. The 2010s, however, have seen a heightened interest from environmental organizations, academics and citizen campaigns to open energy policy processes. Partly in response, novel processes such as online consultations and workshops have been conducted by the responsible ministries. This article focuses on the range of formal and informal avenues actors' employ to influence energy policy and transitions in Finland. We are particularly interested in actors' evaluations and perceptions of their own role, and what issues are raised as successes. This includes assessing how actors attempt to develop legitimacy for specific concerns; mobilize resources to forward their own goals; and how they evaluate their own success in such processes. The analysis is based on documents and interviews gathered in Finland during 2016-2017 with environmental NGOs, energy industry groups, ministry representatives, politicians and academics. Preliminary results indicate a broad-ranging consensus on an ideal energy system as emissions-free. However, there are significant differences regarding how this should be achieved and what actually constitutes as "emissions-free". Attempts to open up policy negotiation processes are criticized as insufficient, with traditionally powerful industrial interests continuing to play a significant role. New actors employ a number of strategies aimed at modifying or radically changing the existing energy system and tend to focus on symbolic successes in policy struggles.
Challenging formal arrangements and decision-making in the energy sector